Like all natural phenomena, the origin of life was probably a result of energetic disequilibria and the need for high-energy systems (Hadean Earth) of dissipating it. The goal of this project is to design, build and operate a high-pressure origin of life simulator where the conditions of Hadean hydrothermal vents will be mimicked. The current disconnect between prebiotic chemistry and ancient biochemistry is arguably the biggest problem of the research on the origin of life. Using the simulator we hope to reproduce the abiotic emergence of proto-metabolism, which will help connecting ancient geochemistry and biochemistry.
The project will be executed within the research groups of Mariëtte Wolthers, Helen King, Oliver Plümper, Paul Mason, and Inge Loes ten Kate at Utrecht University, and of Sijbren Otto at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Principal investigator is Eloi Camprubí-Casas.